By Timothy Rawles / NewsBreak Pinal County, AZ
(Apache Junction, AZ) Don’t be surprised if seasoned Arizona hikers list Silly Mountain in Apache Junction as one of their favorite spots. With its variety of different trails, gorgeous views, and native wildlife, it might become your go-to hiking destination as well, whether you’re new to the state or a longtime resident.
Located just off I-60, Silly Mountain Park has plenty to offer visitors enamored by Arizona’s distinctive and sometimes uneven landscapes.
With 11 trails to choose from, Silly Mountain can either ease you through the desert terrain or challenge your calves with steep slopes that payoff with gorgeous views of the Superstition Mountains. It’s these views that keep the park a hotspot for trailblazers at sunrise and sunset.
Hiking blogger Cameron Jarmon recommends High Point Trail for a spectacular view. He says it’s a bit challenging especially getting up the aptly titled, but brief, Huff & Puff trail.
“Once you’ve finished your fun leg workout, you’ll be at Meditation Point. (If you’re looking for a peaceful spot to watch the sunrise, this is it! There’s usually little to no people there in the morning so it’s pretty dreamy.),” he writes in Arizona Hikers Guide. “This is a great turn around point, but High Point is only 0.3 miles further, so I highly recommend treading on a little further to see the incredible 360 view at the top. From Huff & Puff trail jump over to Crest trail, and then it’s just a rocky 150 feet up the High Point trail to get to the summit.”
For those wanting to stroll through the park on a paved surface, visitors have access to The Silly Mountain Botanical Walk. This is a 0.4-mile figure-eight trail that takes about nine minutes to complete. Alltrails labels this one as easy on their difficulty scale. There are signs along the route that tell you about the plants you will see along the way.
Back in 2008, the City of Apache Junction and the Superstition Area Land Trust restored a 20-foot-long bald patch of land on the mountain. This “scar” as they called it was caused by off-road vehicles.
Community members, businesses and volunteers repaired the scar in just six weeks and managed to open nine new trails.
Then there’s the question of how Silly Mountain got its name. Since Southwestern Arizona is such a historic place with lore that goes back more than a century, it’s hard to pinpoint how and why it was given such a fatuous title.
Liz Langenbach is Apache Junction’s director of Parks and Recreation. She told radio station KJZZ that a public works employee lived on the land in the ‘70s. They carved out a road and paved it.
“He asked if he could name it, and so, so when he retired, they let him name the road, and he wanted it to be called Silly Mountain Road,” Langenbach explains.
If you’re a fan of birdsong, native plant life and an occasional peek at wild animals, Silly Mountain might be just the hiking excursion you’re looking for. With its range of difficulties and glorious views, it’s a great way to explore Arizona’s topography while getting your blood pumping.
If you do decide to make this exhilarating trip, remember to wear hiking shoes since the trails are unpaved. You can either pick up a map at the Chamber of Commerce or take a snapshot of the trail maps posted at the entrance.
Water is a must and be aware of rattlesnake season not only for yourself but your fur babies if you decide to bring them on tepid days.
For more information on Silly Mountain and recreational parks in Apache Junction visit their website.